Creating a conducive learning environment at home is essential for optimal learning. At home we are teaching our children in a variety of languages and it only seems proper to have a selection of material in the different languages to assist learning.
It is essential to give your child the opportunity to be associated with the various types of learning material be it books, DVDS, CDs, flashcards, interactive apps and programs from young. Through constant exposure and immersing a child in the different languages they get more accustomed to hearing, speaking and using it in their daily life. They will be able to relate to both the spoken and written version of the language and build up confidence using the language.
In our aim to raise multilingual children I have gathered materials in English, Mandarin and Japanese. I have purchased flash cards in English, Mandarin and Japanese. I also have different graded readers and story books in English, Mandarin and some books in both English and Mandarin for my 3 kids so that they are exposed to our two main languages from birth. I’m still sourcing around for elementary level Japanese storybooks which are not too expensive. I have printed my own learning materials for them in Japanese which are adapted from my notes or websites which I have found online.
I do not need to source for additional material for teaching the children Cantonese as the dialect uses the same written Chinese characters. The only difference is the pronunciation of certain words like for example the number ” ONE” is “一”(yī) in Mandarin and (yat) in Cantonese. It’s amazing that the kids are able to distinguish between the two and not get it mixed up.
We focus on English, Mandarin and Cantonese daily while Japanese is practiced once a week as it’s the fourth language we are introducing to the kids so the time set aside for this language is lesser then the other three.
One of our favourite games which we play with our 21 month old is counting steps. We count from 1 to 10 with her in English, Mandarin, Cantonese and Japanese as we go up or down the flight of steps leading to our apartment unit. She has fun climbing stairs and learns her numbers in four languages at the same time.